Hefferon, Kate. (2013) Positive Psychology and The Body: The Somatopsychic Side to Flourishing. New York, NY: Open University Press. 254 pages. ISBN: 9780335247714.
Review by Kristina Flemming, Columbia University
According to Kate Hefferon, most of the literature on positive psychology doesn’t give fair mention to the body’s role in this field. Hefferon hopes to address this issue and illustrate how the two go hand in hand in her book, Positive Psychology and the Body. By integrating several perspectives to give an overarching view, she provides a clearly organized text introducing positive psychology and its relationship with various other fields of study.
Each chapter has a specific layout, which is succinctly explained in the preface of the book. There are mock essay questions located at the beginning of each chapter which hints that the book is mostly designed for students. The essay questions are only one example of the interactive content throughout the book. Case studies, fun facts, and suggested resources are just some of the many learning boxes within the text. These allow the readers to pause and really think about the material.
The first half of the book is practically an introductory course in psychology. It’s great if you want a refresher on a topic or be able to see the grand scheme of things as Hefferon connects everything to positive psychology and the body. I don’t think this text can stand alone, but I also don’t believe it was meant to. It’s a great supplementary text and definitely provides all the tools necessary for learning about positive psychology. The book is less about being introduced to new topics; it’s mostly about seeing how all the pieces connect together in a new and engaging way. Nevertheless, don’t be too quick to think that there’s nothing new the book has to offer. You might find a bit of information totally foreign to you. For example, I was introduced to health psychology and positive health.
Positive Psychology and the Body: The Somatopsychic Side to Flourishing is not supposed to be an all encompassing text.. Hefferon presents the relevant topics and provides a starting point. Now you have to do the heavy lifting and research it for yourself. Hefferon offers a lot of new topics to the conversation. She also notes the value that positive psychology holds for research in other unexpected fields. The purpose of the book may be not only to inform, but also to spark interest; something valuable to everyone not just the novice.
Hefferon, Kate. (2013) Positive Psychology and The Body: The Somatopsychic Side to Flourishing. New York, NY: Open University Press. ISBN: 9780335247714.
Paperback. 254 pages. Includes index and references.
Key words: positive psychology, the body, health, sexuality